Yami Gautam is bright and bubbly. That’s my first impression of her. It was a far cry from the image I had of her. The actress has worked with diverse actors from Ayushmann Khurrana to Ajay Devgn and Pulkit Samrat to now, Hrithik Roshan in Kaabil. Yami opens up about her current co-star, the challenges she faced while playing a visually-impaired character, why she thinks her co-star Hrithik is superhuman and why director Sanjay Gupta cried on the set.
How did you land the role?
I had got a call from Rakeshji’s (Roshan) office and met him. I was very excited though I had no clue what this film was all about. He told me just a little bit of it and I was very happy because to get a banner like Filmkraft, a director like Sanjay Gupta and Hrithik as a co-star, whose very mention always gets a smile on everybody’s face.
Was playing a visually-impaired girl daunting?
No. I took it up as an opportunity to do something different and difficult. Playing a visually-impaired girl can be daunting, but I feel one should come out of one’s comfort zone. I didn’t have the perfect references to a role like this, so there is an array of questions. Before shooting I made endless calls to Sanjay. I kept telling him, ‘I am very nervous with workshops, dance rehearsals, etc’, and he said, ‘Don’t worry, everything is sorted.’ Even on the sets he was calm and reassuring. Even if we were shooting the most intense scenes, he wouldn’t lose his cool and is technically amazing. He’s also emotional as a person. I remember there was an emotional scene between me and Hrithik and he was so touched, he had tears in his eyes!
What was the most difficult part about Kaabil?
The most difficult part was the dance factor. It gave me sleepless nights as Hrithik is the best dancer we have today. Doing dance for your passion and dancing with him as a partner are two very different things. We finished that song in two days and I will always cherish that experience because people never believed I could dance, and here now I am making my dance debut with Hrithik.
Tell me about the Mon Amour song.
I remember Rakeshji asking me can you dance and me saying yes. Then he told me there is a dance sequence which has a tango vibe, very fast and with Hrithik, and of course, I can’t see! I just stood with a smile but inside I was so nervous. I knew choreographer Dimple Ganguly and asked her if she could teach me tango. So in the day, I used to rehearse with Hrithik, Ahmed (Khan) Sir and his team and then come back and rehearse with Dimple at night. It was almost like working in double shifts but that’s the kind of effort you need to put in to look even half as good as Hrithik. Also, we had to be coordinated and yet a little off-sync. The spin has to be there but a little imperfect because of our disability. It’s very hard to do because your mind tells you to do it the perfect way and so one is tempted to take the spin perfectly. Those little nuances were tough to do.
How was the experience working with Hrithik?
I met him for the first time on the set. I’d never met him before even socially. Instead of introducing myself, I said, “Hi! I’m nervous!” And he said “Hi! I am nervous as well!” That was so sweet of him. He said he was so relieved when I said that because, “Now let’s all just make mistakes and come together as a team and let imperfections lead to perfection. Don’t worry about making mistakes or the fear of having them, but just go for it.”
You have called Hrithik a superhuman being…
(Laughs) Yes, because I can’t see anyone as generous as him. When I look at a monitor after a take I only look at myself and my work. But Hrithik looks at everything in totality and goes out of his way to help you out. And so many times he would go for a retake when he was perfect. He would suggest I try something different, and I would go for it and it would just look better. He doesn’t cease to learn and he’s so selfless…I think it takes a very secure person to do that. He makes an effort to elevate the other person’s work and work as a team. With Hrithik it’s WE, never I. As much as he has those tags of Greek God and sexiest man and God of Dance etc, he is such a simple person at heart and so likeable. Hrithik talks from his heart. He appreciates and values honesty and simplicity, doesn’t faff around and he never minces his words. I find him very inspiring.
Is your character Supriya like you?
She’s like me in many ways, but I don’t have the guts to dance like that impromptu (laughs).